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[TowerTalk] Fiberglass Guy Rods

To: <>
Subject: [TowerTalk] Fiberglass Guy Rods
From: (
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 14:53:34 -0500
Oh, wow, an engineering student!

So your conclusion is that you shouldnt use fiberglass because it


OK, so maybe the fiberglass does stretch more than also sags a
LOT less under the same preload because it weighs a small fraction of
steel...especially with insulators.

I'd be willing to bet that if you put up 200 feet of insulated steel and
200 feet of fiberglass on a 45 degree angle with 1000 lbs of preload
tension, the steel will have several times the amount of play that the
fiberglass has...   and I'm not even going to consider the slop in the
additional grips, thimbles, and insulators.

What I was referring to before in an earlier post was temperature related
expansion and contraction.  I'm quite certain that fiberglass (and probably
Phillystran) is much less than steel.

73, Ty K3MM

cc:    (bcc: Tyler G Stewart/BENN/CEC)
Subject:  RE:[TowerTalk] Fiberglass Guy Rods

<<Another thing to think about is the coefficient of elasticity. That
may be the wrong term, but what I mean is how much does it stretch for
a given load. In a recent calculation posted on his Web site, Kurt,
K7NV, showed that Rohn towers with the bottom section sunk in concrete,
rather than pier pinned, get pretty close to the 1.0 safety factor,
below the bottom set of guys, when using Phillystran. This seems to be
related to a greater stretch per unit force.  You need to know how much
this stuff stretches, and not just ultimate tensile strength, before
deciding whether it is acceptable>>

Very, very good. You've got the gist of the idea.

 The term is Modulus of Elasticity, typically represented by the letter
'E'. The lower this number, the floppier and more elastic the material.
This means that it will deflect much more under a given load.

 A guy material with a low modulus, or low E, will allow your tower to
deflect, or sway, much more in the wind than would a guy material with a
high E. Kurt has helped us understand that this swaying means your tower
is bending, which, when uncontrolled, will lead to buckling.

Moduli of Elasticities For reference, from prior posts:

Note: Msi stands for millions of Psi:

Fiberglass 3.5- 4.0 Msi, (epoxy/e-glass Mil Spec G-10 material)

Glasforms Fiberglass rod - 6 Msi (75% glass, from recent post)

Aluminum 10 Msi (common 6061 & 6063 alloys)

Aramid fiber 18 Msi (Kevlar 49 used for most aramid guying cable -

Steel 29 Msi (commonly used steels mild, chrome-moly, and stainless)

Steel is by faaaaaarrrr the winner here. not even close. So, by
comparison, the fiberglass is 29/6 = 4.8 times stretchier than steel.

The fiberglass is 18/6 = 3 times stretchier than the aramid.

Kurt's example strength modeling shows us that guy cables with a lower E
(more elastic) will reduce the safety factors of your tower

Fiberglass would not be a good choice if your tower is in a high wind
speed zone or heavily loaded, as many amateur towers are.

The moral of the story, it would seem, is that if you want non-resonant
guys with the best ability to secure your tower, stay with steel and
insulators or kevlar (Phillystran).

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